Ontario sees 805 new COVID-19 cases as York Region long-term care homes face tighter restrictions

Ontario is reporting 805 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, marking six straight days of more than 700 daily cases recorded in the province. 

Saturday’s new cases mark an uptick from Friday, when 712 new cases were reported. 

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 374 of Saturday’s new cases are in Toronto, 107 in Peel Region, 93 in York Region and 70 are in Ottawa. 

Saturday’s new numbers come as Ontario announced that tighter restrictions will take effect in long-term care homes in York Region on Monday to match those already in effect in homes across Toronto, Ottawa and Peel Region. 

Those precautions include: 

  • Limiting visitors to only essential visitors, including caregivers. 
  • Pausing short-term and temporary absences for social or personal reasons. Only absences for medical or compassionate reasons will be allowed.

“We recognize that these restrictions are being introduced just one week after we announced new measures for the City of Toronto, the Region of Peel, and the City of Ottawa,” Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, minister of long-term care, said in a news release Saturday.

“We also know we must act fast to address changing conditions to protect the residents and staff in Ontario’s long-term care homes.”

A complete list of the impacted homes can be found here

York Region to move to modified Stage 2 

The new restrictions come one day after Ontario announced stricter health measures for all of York Region in an effort to contain what the province is calling an “alarming” surge in COVID-19 cases in that area.

Premier Doug Ford said the region will be moved back into a modified Stage 2 of the province’s pandemic plan, which bans indoor service in restaurants, closes gyms and movie theatres, and restricts public gatherings to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.

The tighter measures take effect Monday and will be in place for 28 days.

“I hate doing this,” Ford said in announcing the restrictions on Friday. “We just have to stop the spread.”

The announcement comes a week after Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa were placed under similar restrictions amid rising cases.

Most regions entered Stage 2, which placed restrictions on non-essential businesses, in June and progressed to Stage 3 in July, though a few were slower to move through the stages.

Nearly all businesses and public spaces were allowed to reopen in Stage 3, with health measures in place.

Elliott said Friday there has been an “alarming upward trend” in cases in York Region recently, and evidence of community spread that requires stronger public health intervention. You can watch her comments in the video below: 

York Region moving to modified Stage 2 of COVID-19 restrictions was a decision made after seeing concerning trends and looking at multiple indicators, including community transmission, says Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott. 3:46 

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